Weaverville – In what was the quickest council meeting in years, the Weaverville Town Council met Monday night (October 24th) and made quick work of their program after two items were removed from the agenda. Two council members, Mayor Patrick Fitzsimmons and Councilwoman Catherine Cordell, were absent from the meeting.
The two agenda items that would have added substantial time to the meeting were dealing with the low-income housing development on Monticello Road. The town recently agreed to supply water if the developer agreed to have it annexed into the town. Item one would have been the annexation request by current property owner Betty Hollifield Roberts of the 10.68 acres. The second item was a request for conditional zoning of the property.
The reason for Fitzsimmons’ September motion to provide water to the project only if the property was annexed and which was approved by a majority of the board is unclear since this is a nonprofit development and will be exempt from any taxation by the town. Annexation means that the city will have to foot the bill for policing the property, but it also means the project will be under the control of the town as it is developed.
The meeting started with Vice Mayor Jeff McKenna holding two hearings at which no one spoke. The first was a code amendment for chapter 20, retail use of the C-1 District, which “requires conditional district zoning for any retail use within the C-1 zoning district that encompasses more than 5,000 square feet.” The second hearing was a list of streets to be prioritized for sidewalks.
After the hearings, the council approved the consent agenda items, which included, but were not limited to, a budget amendment for the police and public works, a road closure on December 3rd for the town’s annual Christmas Parade, rules for procedure for the town council, a code amendment making the board of adjustment responsible for animal control appeals, and two board appointments. Ryan Gagliardi was appointed as an alternate member of the Planning Board to serve an unexpired term expiring in September 2024. Brent Koenig was appointed as an alternate member of the Board of Adjustment to serve an unexpired term expiring in September 2025.
Town Manager Selena Coffey then gave her manager’s report. In the report, she introduced the town’s new fire chief, Scottie Harris, where she gave his list of qualifications. Harris made a short statement and asked if the council had any questions for him. Having none, he took his seat.
Coffey said the town had executed a contract for a study on water system development fees, formerly referred to as impact fees. The study is being conducted by Wildan Financial Services.
She informed the council that the public works department had contacted the same landscape architect who designed the grounds and parking at the new community center to assist with the recreation complex on the adjoining property. “We are expecting a proposal from them outlining their services by the end of October. We are planning for construction to begin in the early spring.”
She also said the town’s Patriotic Activities Committee “has planned a wonderful Veterans Day program for 11 a.m. on Friday, November 11th.” The program will be held at the Weaverville Community Center at Dottie Sherrill Knoll (see article on page 12).
Then, reaching back nearly a year in time, she informed the council, “As you may recall from October 2021, the Town Council considered a proposal for a perpetual easement from U.S. Cellular for the cell tower located off Quarry Road for the amount of $270,000.
The decision to keep the current annual lease amount from U.S. Cellular of $22,251 was made. “This is coming back to the Town Council for consideration because U.S. Cellular has again reached out to ascertain the Town’s interest in again considering allowing them to purchase that annual leased space with the perpetual easement for the amount of $325,770.85.” Coffey said she’d like to hear council members’ thoughts over the next 30 days while she explores options.
She also informed the board that the fireworks company, which provides the pyrotechnic display for the town’s Fourth of July event, had advised her that the price for the fireworks would be raised by 10 percent. She said she needs to hear from the board in the next couple of months about what they want to do.
Under discussions and action items, the council blew through the code amendment and sidewalk priority since no one spoke at either hearing and they were quickly approved. The third item was the comprehensive land use plan updates, which were also quickly approved, leaving the council with reports from the planning and finance departments to hear before entering executive session and adjourning for the evening.